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What to consider when choosing a mobile printer

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According to Song Thiam Ow, Senior Product Marketing – Intermec Printers, Asia Pacific, mobile printers can vastly improve productivity in the field, giving users the flexibility to produce labels and receipts when and where they’re needed.
 
However, it is difficult to compare potential productivity gains between different mobile printers on the market, given that the same mobile printer used in a slightly different environment can present vastly different levels of productivity gains.
 
Evaluate the environment in which the field user operates

Mobile printers must be rugged for use in the field or even in retail or carpeted environments where drops, spills and rough handling are routine. Failure to safeguard against these threats will result in lost productivity, the inability to complete necessary tasks and reduced service levels.
 
Measure throughput, not speed

The true indicator of a printer’s productivity power is its throughput, which includes the total time it takes a printer to complete a print job after receiving the print command. Before printing even begins, the printer may need to extract information from on-board memory or a mobile computer, generate graphics and format bar codes. Throughput directly impacts the amount of time users spend waiting for the printer to output the needed labels or receipts.
 
A printer and computer should be a perfect match
 
Printer performance can vary significantly depending on the computer it is paired with, making compatibility a key variable for productivity. Compatibility between computer and printer goes beyond whether each device supports the business’ desired interfaces such as Bluetooth or USB as they only provide basic connectivity, but do not optimise operations.
 
Before choosing a mobile printer for their business, organisations should test their own label and receipt formats to determine the fastest and most responsive printer/ computer combination for operations within their network.
 
Consider operating expenses as a part of the total cost of ownership
 
The purchase price of a printer and the cost of its supplies are only a small measure of its true cost. Reliability and expected maintenance costs should also be considered as performance issues that limit productivity can drive up the cost of mobile printers. Rugged mobile printers often have a higher list price than common commercial models, but have longer life cycles and are more resistant to damage, which results in lower repair costs and work interruptions, providing superior value in the long run.
 
Choose the right printer for the right job
 
Before deploying any new mobile technology into their operations, businesses must consider the systems and equipment that the mobile printers will be used in conjunction with, as well as the operating environments. By assessing all business requirements and understanding new mobile printing technologies on the market, professionals will be able to make an informed choice and ensure that their new technology is a productivity booster from day one. 

Insignia is a leading Australian label manufacturer, combining a wide product range with a host of labelling equipment solutions.

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